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Gauging goalie trade targets for the Maple Leafs

Feb 23, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

James Reimer, Darryl Boyce, Matthew Lombardi AP

The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently in the eighth spot in the East, but they’re floundering a bit. Aside from a mini-run here and there, you can attribute Toronto’s successes almost solely to its explosive offense.

Even in some of the lower moments of the season, GM Brian Burke has been quick to support his goalies – at least publicly – although that seemed to change on Wednesday. The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle reports that Burke admitted he might test the market for some goaltending help.

Although Mirtle spent much of his story discussing younger netminders such as Ben Bishop, Jonathan Bernier and Cory Schneider, Burke indicated that he’s more interested in a quick-fix. That implies that the Maple Leafs are leaning toward a veteran rental who would cost less in a trade than “goalie of the future” types.

With that in mind, here’s a rundown of some of the most interesting targets who fit Burke’s specifications.

source: Getty ImagesEvgeni Nabokov – Yes, the New York Islanders have indicated that they want to re-sign Nabby, but would that really be the best move for a team whose short-term future is cloudy? It might be best to strike while the iron is hot with a goalie who isn’t getting any younger.

Nabby might not be tailor-made for the Toronto pressure cooker, but he’s playing great hockey and could provide the just-good-enough work to make them an interesting dark horse candidate. (Ron Wilson’s also familiar with him from their time together in San Jose.)

Tomas Vokoun – OK, I know this is a bit surprising, but if the Capitals clean house he’s a logical first choice. Vokoun is an experienced goalie with an expiring contract and plenty to prove. He’s the best option Washington has in net on most nights right now yet his reception keeps getting more sour. That sinking relationship could make for quite the bargain, especially considering Vokoun’s track record before this rocky season.

The point’s probably moot because the Buds and Caps might go head-to-head for one of the last playoff spots, but perhaps it shouldn’t be a moot point.

Antero Niittymaki/Curtis Sanford/Ty Conklin: The Maple Leafs could really reach in the bargain bin with one of these journeyman netminders. Sanford might fetch the highest ransom because he’s had more success season. Oh yeah, he also hasn’t been placed on waivers …


So what’s your take on Toronto’s net situation? Should they stay put, go cheap with a veteran or sell the farm for a Schneider-type backup? Do tell.

  1. greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 23, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Josh Harding will be moved before deadline. Why no mention of him?

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      Nobody ever mentions him. He’s played pretty well this season, and the Wild have Hackett waiting in the wings. Harding would make great trade bait.

      • sknut - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:45 AM

        It depends on if they want to sign him long term, I think teams don’t view him as a pure rental although he could be. Also I am sure Flectcher would want more back than just what a rental gets.
        I do hope they trade him though as he is their best trade chip at the moment.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:02 AM

        It’s gotta be done, might as well get something for him. They aren’t going to pay him starter money he wants to be a backup. They can easily move him for a decent scorer.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Feb 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      I want Harding moved but am far from sold that he will be traded before the deadline. I think he will be the cheapest quality goalie to get but the fact that the Wild haven’t been showcasing him makes me wonder about his value right now. I want more than a 2nd but that’s looking like about it.

      The 2nd round pick will replace what we sent to the Sharks

    • James O'Brien - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      I consider Harding part of the Bernier club, even if he’s a UFA. I guess he has a foot in each camp, eh?

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 25, 2012 at 7:05 PM

        I can see them signing him for another year if he’s not traded so the Wild can weigh their options next season. The Wild are going to look like a very different team next year if Granlund, Coyle, Brodin, Phillips, and Zucker make it up. It would be smart to see where their weaknesses might lie and then trading Harding for a player who might fill that gap. He won’t be a rental goalie this year unless Tampa or someone gets desperate before the deadline here.

  2. 4twistedlogic - Feb 23, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Good question, Leaf fans have been eyeing him for 4 years now.

  3. rainyday56 - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Burke’s achilles heal has always been goaltending. Burke doesn’t understand goaltending and he doesn’t know how to handle goalies right down to the hiring of that fraud Allaire who already has ruined both Reimer and the Monster. So you know whatever move he makes will be the wrong one.

    • 4twistedlogic - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      How is a 21 or 22 year old goalie ruined? Bring in a vet, let busto go, let Reimer play backup and develop more.

      Get it done Burke.

      • rainyday56 - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        I was at the recent Canuck game, sat right behind Jimmy during the 2nd when he was chased out of the net. I saw the look on his face after each goal when he reached for the water bottle. He looked pretty screwed up.

    • BarberPoleBlog - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      Yeah, Burke really screwed up keeping that Allaire/Giguere duo together when he took over in Anaheim…

      • rainyday56 - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

        I was waiting for this. The Allaire “shooter tutor” technique apparently works when you have both Neidermeyer and Pronger on your team. …

    • BarberPoleBlog - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      “The Allaire ‘shooter tutor’ technique” also worked pretty well in 2003, when neither Pronger or Neids were around…

  4. spizzjr - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    If the islanders don’t resign nabby and buyout rickity dipietro I’ll be pissed

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      Rickety Cricket!

  5. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Unless one of those guys comes extremely cheap (minor leaguer and a late round pick or two) this probably isn’t happening.

  6. bcisleman - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Yes, re-signing Nabby IS the best move. Regardless of what happens with the arena, the team will still have to develop into a contender. To do that, they need reliable goaltending. The team responds to Nabby when he is in net. He gives them confidence. It is no accident that they have slipped in the race for the 8th spot in the East with him out of action. The confidence he gives the team while prospects Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson develop is worth infinitely more than any prospect or pick TOR would provide in return.

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